Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Streamcast Realizes The Supreme Court Decision Didn't Outlaw Their Product

from the keeping-the-lawyers-busy dept

Streamcast sure is keeping its lawyers busy these days. Just after going after Skype and its founders for charges dating all the way back to the early days of Kazaa, it appears that the company has now decided to go to court with the recording industry, rather than settle with it. This is actually a much bigger deal than it may seem. When the Supreme Court ruled on a tiny aspect of the case between Streamcast and the entertainment industry, it only said that file sharing companies could face liability if they somehow promoted copyright infringement (the so called "induce" test). As we noted at the time, if these firms could show they were not specifically promoting the use of their software to violate copyrights, they could be perfectly fine under the law. Of course, many people missed the specifics on that, and simply ran with the theme that the entertainment industry "won." The entertainment industry, of course, did nothing to discourage that viewpoint, and even started pretending the Supreme Court flat out said that file sharing was illegal -- something they didn't even come close to saying. Still, many of the file sharing platforms saw the writing on the wall and shut down or settled. Streamcast even went down that route, and said they were close to settling until one of the RIAA law firms began "seeking revenge, retaliation and retribution," rather than just coming up with an agreeable settlement. So, now, Streamcast says they've dropped settlement talks completely. Even more interesting is that they clearly recognize just how little the Supreme Court ruling really changed, as they say it doesn't make a difference. They plan on making the case that they didn't "induce" anyone to infringe on copyrights.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Daniele Levy, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 5:09pm

    Legal applications of P2P

    Indeed, there are many applications of P2P technology that are completely legal. File transfer for one, as opposed to file sharing. No copies are made, but assets are transfered along with ownership. It's proteted by the first sale doctrine and can happen within a user-led community.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anon, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Legal applications of P2P

    There is also grounds for legal file sharing. For example, if I create a digital work and I put that work on a P2P network then I am handing the digital work over to the realm of public domain rights. Nobody can legal profit from it in it's original form but it can be copied and shared freely. There are exceptions to this, take the game The Movies for example. My EULA on the game prevents me from having clear ownership of any works created in part or whole within the game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    veekay, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 9:21pm

    It's arguable that if Streamcast cleaned up its act entirely, purported only to offer the technology of P2P, did absolutely nothing that even smelled like encouraging the sharing of copyrighted content (obviously no sloganeering about "joining the revolution" and even advertising could be suspect), then it could be seen to be providing a legitimate service, one that the content industry couldn't touch. That is, it would look a lot more like other applications that can be used for both infringing and non-infringing purposes eg BitTorrent, or even plain old email, than Napster did. However, all this depends on the Sony safeharbour remaining intact, something which was sort of side-stepped by the Supreme Court. The worrying thing is that three of the judges made noises about narrowing the Sony doctrine. This remains to be seen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Daniel.son, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 2:29am

    "the writing on the wall"

    Give me a break. What do you know of that phrase?

    Seems that the writting on the wall was either misunderstood or ignored. Dying are the days of cutting down of the trees. Nebuchadrezzar(s) beware; filesharing is here to stay.

    Mt 24:15

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 5:03am

    Copyright Infringement

    It seems that Streamcast shouldn't need to prove they didn't do something. RIAA should need to prove Streamcast actively "induced" copyright infringement. What happened to the old "Innocent until proven guiltyā€¯ thing. I mean Streamcast should not need to prove their innocence.

    P2P is a valuable tool that allows anyone to share their emerging ideas or evolving works to the world. This is the whole idea behind the internet anyway, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Nello Noma, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 11:45am

    make em pay!

    Thank god streamcast is going this route. Someone needs to teach these big ass corporations that, if you bully people enough, it's likely to come back and bite you on the ass. This whole "i've got more money and power than you so I'm gonna trample all over yr rights" thing is getting a lil outta control in this country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Copyright Infringement

    Just because you don't have to prove yourself dosn't mean you shouldn't. If your prove your self in a case it can sway the jury, or the judge more to your side. Its easier to prove someone guilty who stays silent, than a loud mouth who denies everything (even their existance :) )

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    BMSprint, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 4:25pm

    The Truth

    The truth of the matter is that the record companies are in both the right AND in the wrong. Looking at the way the music industry works, you would know that record companies ultimately pay at least $1,000 per week per station to get aired (nationally that's hundreds of thousands) and with that loss and the loss from people who illegally download that leaves, in the end, a very stiff deal for the record companies and an even stiffer deal for the artists---the best artists might make a few million an album and most people don't believe that---but MOST artists make much less than that. If radio were free and got their money from commercials as they should, prices of albums would go down, which would in turn decrease pirating, allowing the RIAA to focus on the people who really want to steal, those who are still left downloading. However, most record companies increase prices in order to offset the losses from filesharing, and that is wrong---why punish people for doing exactly what you want them to do? The whole music industry is horridly corrupt but in the end the artists get the shortest end of the stick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Cyryl, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 9:26pm




    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    WhoNu, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 9:34pm

    Dou Lobbs says 'it's ok as long as you don't outsource it overseas', wait, that might have been that alien guy Bolf Witzer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 10:05pm

    Re: The Truth

    this is right in a sense, however artists even before all this p2p and filesharing nonsense started still got the shaft from the record companies. Record companies make billions, yes, billions, however most artists hardly get away with $100 least from record sales. Most artists know that they need to go on tour, play concerts, etc. to make their money.

    Now, I don't download music, however I don't pay for it either. Personally I think music today sucks, all over rated junk (I'm 22, not some weird old person). I think record companies have made music into an awful thing, and should go back to letting artists do what they do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Semaphore, Apr 12th, 2006 @ 7:30pm

    Streamcast, RIAA-type law firms, and file-sharing

    Actually, its been shown that file-sharing sells music albums and the RIAA-type sleaze-squeeze adds to costs in payola-style "costs" outloaded to radio stations, etc, for music that prevents many the army of competent original -song musicians from competing with the standard old buzzards like Lennon and the Beatles, and Jagger and the Rolling Stones, and the whole phoney "music history" gambit on radio and TV which delivers the aforementioned ad nauseum - which "music history" has nothing to do with an evaluative process of aired debates by pop-music historians who dare to wander of the industry-determined path to the past , but is specious "mustic history" that is altogether beholden to the music industry that wants to keep the doors closed to new artists. Most of what the industry puts out, and the file-sharers go for is garbage. Let the current music companies with the decrepit inherited business plans die off, and let new music companies arise that are plugged in to an open radio, open history of pop-music, and yes to file-sharers who listen widely and then comment on new work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.